Project image
)}
$13,560
pledged of $50,000pledged of $50,000 goal
133
backers
13days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, October 29 2019 12:00 AM UTC +00:00.

Die Jim Crow: The Record Label

From concept album to label: Die Jim Crow is becoming the first record label in the US for formerly & currently incarcerated musicians.

Die Jim Crow: The Record Label

From concept album to label: Die Jim Crow is becoming the first record label in the US for formerly & currently incarcerated musicians.

$13,560
pledged of $50,000pledged of $50,000 goal
133
backers
13days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Tue, October 29 2019 12:00 AM UTC +00:00.

About

Help us make history as Die Jim Crow expands into a non-profit record label, unlocking more voices and releasing high-quality content on a consistent basis.

Over 50 musicians in five prisons, four states. Ohio, Colorado, South Carolina, Mississippi. 

14 formerly incarcerated musicians in New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kansas, and Alabama, to name a few.

Dozens of unreleased tracks from 2014 to now. Many more to come.   

Some of the artists we have worked with in GA, OH, IN, CO, PA, CA, NY, NJ, MD, KS, AL, TX, and LA. (L-R each row): Johnnie Lindsey, Leon Benson, Malcolm Morris, Maxwell Melvins, Michael Austin, Dexter Nurse, Valerie Seeley, Spoon Jackson, Tameca Cole, Michael Tenneson, Mark Springer, Obadyah Ben-Yisrayl, Cedric "Versatile" Johnson, Lee Lee, Anthony "Big Ant" McKinney, Ezette Edouard, Pastor Anna Smith, BL Shirelle, Carl Dukes, Norman Whiteside, Sedrick Franklin, Charles "C-Will" Williams, Apostle Heloise
Dane Newton and Kevin Woodley. Colorado Territorial CF (CTCF). Cañon City, CO. (Photo: FY)

"For me this means more than just music. It's more along the line of being heard when you're feeling invisible. I left my son back when he was three years old -- he's 19 right now. 

So there's a lot of things he's only heard about me -- like the fact that I used to do music on the street... but to actually be able to have him hear me again, real live, it does much more than anybody ever knows."

- Ach, Allendale Correctional Institution. Fairfax, SC.

In 2013, a 23-year old artist-activist named Fury Young got the idea for Die Jim Crow, a concept album about racial injustice in the U.S. prison system written and performed by formerly and currently incarcerated musicians. At the time, Young was halfway through Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow and listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall  in heavy rotation, searching for a social justice cause that drew him in the most. Though he had never experienced incarceration, Fury was close with community members who had, and felt a strong pull toward the issues of mass incarceration and racial injustice.

Fury and Assistant Mystique Jamison entering Camille Griffin Graham CI (CGGCI); Columbia, SC. (Photo: Britni West)
dr. Israel setting up the vocal mic at CTCF

For four years, Young and his Co-Producer/Engineer dr. Israel (Doc) would collect recordings in prisons and with formerly incarcerated musicians across the country for the concept album LP. In 2016, they would release the Die Jim Crow EP, which was funded through a previous Kickstarter and would see its first music video premiere on RollingStone.com.

On a southern trip in March 2019, a major evolution occurred.

The journey began in New Orleans with a home recording of Albert Woodfox, who lent his voice to music for the first time. Mr. Woodfox spent 43 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana, the longest of any solitary prisoner in US history. Fury also recorded a video interview with Albert about his experiences with music while inside.

From NOLA, Fury picked up Doc in Mississippi, where they spent two days recording four rappers at a juvenile prison -- Central Mississippi CF Youthful Offender Unit. They spent the next 10 days in South Carolina recording a total of 22 artists at a men's and a women's prison: Allendale CI and Camille Griffin Graham CI.

Per prison regulation we are not allowed to show faces or use real names. Central Mississippi CF Youthful Offender Unit. Pearl, MS. (L-R): Shad, Mico, JD, Lil Dough (Photo: FY)
Camille Griffin Grahm CI. Columbia, SC. (L-R) Weezy, Kiz, Lati, Uno, Britt, KO. Not pictured: Jazz, Dari, Max. (Photo: FY)
Allendale CI. Fairfax, SC. (Top row L-R): dr. Israel, PC, Quasi, I-Self, Tone, VI (Bottom row L-R): Kev, JD, Len, Fury, Tu McC, SLV. Not pictured: Ach, Hippie. (Photo: FY)

When they got home, Fury brought up at a Board of Directors meeting: "This is becoming a record label." He had already discussed it with BL Shirelle and Maxwell Melvins, both DJC artists and board members, and the consensus was clear. A similar reaction was palpable at the board meeting. Stefanie Lindeman, a non-profit veteran and board member, brought up, "OK, we need to put together a three year strategic plan immediately." And from there, Die Jim Crow Records was born.

Alright -- it wasn't that easy. The Executive Committee of Fury, BL, Maxwell, Stefanie and grant writer Jennifer Shipon spent tireless hours over the summer of 2019 in meetings and phone calls, hashing out what the next three years would look like: a Single of the Month initiative, more EPs and LPs, mixtapes, and of course the Die Jim Crow LP.

So get excited. We start rolling out new work in May 2020.

(L-R) Stefanie Lindeman, Maxwell Melvins, Jennifer Shipon, BL Shirelle, Fury Young (Photo: FY)

"It's a sense of accountability. It gives me a greater responsibility to the people who I may have left behind."

-  BL Shirelle, DJC Deputy Director, who spent over nine years in the PA prison system.

From these meetings, roles became clear: BL Shirelle is our Deputy Director, helping Fury run the label and producing projects of her own inside prisons (she is currently producing an EP at the women's prison in South Carolina, Camille Griffin Graham CI). Stefanie Lindeman is our Operations Director, overseeing fundraising and program operations, with Jennifer Shipon as her Grants Manager. And last but far from least, we have Maxwell Melvins as Senior Advisor -- who, as a Grammy-nominated recording artist who achieved this feat while serving a life sentence -- will be weighing in on the direction the organization takes creatively and programmatically.

Deputy Director BL Shirelle and Executive Director Fury Young (Photo: Dave Jones)

Right now, all of our staff are volunteers. We have a mountain of work ahead of us and we need your help to make it happen.

You may already know the numbers:

  • America is the world leader in incarceration, with 5% of the global population but 25% of its prisoners.
  • Between 1990 and 2005, a new prison was built in the US every ten days.
  • 2.3 million people in US prisons and jails.
  • 4.4 million on probation and parole.
  • 80,000 people in solitary confinement.
  • people of color most disproportionately affected.

Do a quick google search. We won't drown you with stats and charts. You know why this is important. There are millions of silenced voices -- we find those who are making music that can change the culture. There are people who might never have a platform to tell their stories unless we record them. That is why your help matters. Let's turn this into a functioning organization, not a passion project. Those days are over. The stakes are too high.

Thank you.

Team Die Jim Crow

P.S. We have some cool rewards. For pictures, see this link!

Britt and BL working on an upcoming project.... top secret ;) ... (Photo: FY)
BL Shirelle and Fury Young in session with The Masses... another top secret project coming up at Allendale CI... (Photo: Britni West)

Risks and challenges

Our main obstacle right now is long term funding. Kickstarter funds can only be used for non-discretionary purposes. This means we must spend the money from this fundraiser for products related to the label (i.e. equipment, travel costs, gear rental, artist payments, vinyl pressings, etc.) -- but we cannot pay our staff.

We are hoping to attract donors through this Kickstarter who can offer discretionary funds. With said funds, we will be able to pay our grantwriters Stefanie Lindeman and Jennifer Shipon, who are currently working pro bono, and this will enable us longevity-funding.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Digital Download - DIE JIM CROW EP

    A digital download of the original six song Die Jim Crow EP, released in 2016.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    13 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Digital Download - DJC EP + PDF BOOK

    A digital download of the DJC EP
    +
    A digital download PDF of the Die Jim Crow EP Book, featuring artwork, writings, and photography inspired by the 2016 EP.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    32 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 40 or more About US$ 40

    POSTCARD PRINT + DJC EP + PDF BOOK

    A digital download of the DJC EP
    +
    A digital download PDF of the DJC EP BOOK
    +
    DIE JIM CROW POSTCARD PRINT featuring original DJC visuals.
    Send this postcard to someone you think should know about this project or keep it for yourself. You can also send this to someone who is incarcerated. Need a pen pal? See: https://writeaprisoner.com/

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    8 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    DJC BUMPER STICKER + EP, PDF, POSTCARD

    A digital download of the DJC EP
    +
    A digital download PDF of the DJC EP BOOK
    +
    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed by Deputy Director/DJC Musician BL Shirelle, Senior Advisor/DJC Musician Maxwell Melvins, and Executive Director Fury Young.
    +
    DIE JIM CROW BUMPER STICKER, featuring artwork by DJC Visual Artist/Musician, Mark Springer

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    10 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    DIE JIM CROW EP VINYL

    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed by BL Shirelle, Maxwell Melvins, and Fury Young.
    +
    DJC EP VINYL
    Released May 2016, first edition of Die Jim Crow EP on vinyl. The six song EP vinyl features insert and digital download code.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (38 left of 40) 2 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    LIMITED EDITION DJC SILK SCREENED POSTER

    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed BL Shirelle, Maxwell Melvins, and Fury Young.
    +
    LIMITED EDITION SILK SCREENED DJC EP POSTER
    Original artwork, designed and signed by Fury Young.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (4 left of 8) 4 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    DJC T-SHIRT

    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed BL Shirelle, Maxwell Melvins, and Fury Young.
    +
    DJC T-SHIRT
    Original artwork and design by Fury Young. Screen print on 100% pre-shrunk cotton.
    Available in black, white and red/yellow tie-die.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    3 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    PRINTED AND BOUND DJC EP BOOK

    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed BL Shirelle, Maxwell Melvins, and Fury Young.
    +
    DJC EP PRINTED AND BOUND BOOK
    203-page Die Jim Crow EP Book, featuring artwork, writings, and photography inspired by the 2016 EP.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (295 left of 300) 5 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    LIMITED RUN - LAUNCH PARTY POSTER PRINT

    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed BL Shirelle, Maxwell Melvins, and Fury Young.
    +
    DJC KICKSTARTER LAUNCH PARTY POSTER PRINT
    Limited print run of the 2019 DJC Kickstarter Launch Party Poster signed by BL, Maxwell, and Fury.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (19 left of 20) 1 backer
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    DJC x YUMMY WEAR - DJC EARRINGS

    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed BL Shirelle, Maxwell Melvins, and Fury Young.
    +
    DIE JIM CROW HOOP EARRINGS
    A collaboration by DJC and Yummy Wear - limited edition hoop earrings.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (25 left of 25) 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    DJC MYSTERY PARTY MIX

    SIGNED DJC POSTCARD PRINT - signed BL Shirelle, Maxwell Melvins, and Fury Young.
    +
    A mixed bag of various DJC goodies!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (29 left of 30) 1 backer
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    ALL OF THE ABOVE

    Everything listed above!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (10 left of 10) 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 2,500 or more About US$ 2,500

    DINNER PARTY WITH DJC ARTISTS

    Dinner party with DJC artists and collaborators, for you and a guest!
    Details to come, but there will definitely be fine food, fine drink and fine fun.
    +
    A mixed bag of various DJC goodies!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (10 left of 10) 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    COMMISSIONED ART WORK

    Get a custom piece of artwork made by one of our DJC artists/collaborators on the inside.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (20 left of 20) 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.